BlueSky: Aircraft acquisition – the smart way to buy and fly

Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, chief executive of London Executive Aviation (LEA), says it’s important to share insider tips on how to find the right jet and the right deal.
At LEA, we are often approached by potential aircraft owners looking to buy a new or used business jet and seeking advice on finding the right deal. As an operator, we’re eager to help. We understand that today’s new owners are tomorrow’s business partners and that everyone benefits from sharing advice to build effective, long-term relationships.
Buying a business jet is a serious endeavour, and I’m sure we’re not alone in receiving these approaches at LEA, so I thought it might be interesting and helpful to share some of the thoughts and tips that we ourselves share with would-be owners, helping them to navigate the acquisition process.

Firstly, we advise to learn to love the checklist. Encourage them to accept the fact they will need to plan every detail of the buying process thoroughly to ensure they find the jet that best meets their needs. The effort will be worthwhile, as we all know.

Choose the right aircraft. Ensure they are not too influenced by the recommendations of friends, whose personal priorities and requirements might be very different from their own. They will be the person travelling in the jet. Similarly, and perhaps counter-intuitively, they should be wary of advice from pilots, whose love of flying a particular type of jet does not necessarily mean the passenger experience would be perfect for them.

But I don’t mean they should ignore advice. There are so many types of business jet on the market that the input of an expert operator, who understands the full scope of jets available, will prove invaluable. The wrong choice can be a very expensive mistake.

When seeking funding, secure several quotations. Various banks have specialist aviation departments, so your buyer should not necessarily accept the first funding quotation they receive.

And just as banks have specialist aviation departments, so aircraft acquisition needs specialist legal advice. Even their company’s own regular legal advisors might not be sufficiently well-informed to help with the unique and niche aspects of this particular field. Don’t let them pay the price for bad advice later.

If buying a used aircraft, carefully consider the jet’s history. For example, if they know the aircraft has been based near a coast, the pre-purchase engineering check should definitely include looking for corrosion caused by a salt-heavy atmosphere.

Finally, and above all, don’t let them be put off when the task seems daunting. We all appreciate that buying a business jet might feel stressful at times, even with the right help, but the ultimate benefits are beyond dispute for everyone involved.

Published in: BlueSky 12 December 2013


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